Review Sarah Martin

HIS MAJESTY, THE DEVIL.

Move over, Terry Pratchett’s Mort, the new order is called by His Majesty the Devil (Quaker Meeting House/Venue 40, 6:20pm), wielding chocolate covered cherries from Switzerland in an iPhone box from stage left. We like it.

It is a rare privilege to watch a grand Master of the theatre with as prolific a film and broadway history as MacIntyre Dixon in an intimate Edinburgh venue. In lesser hands, a pilates-obsessed, gluten-free chocolate cake baking, flu-jabbed Devil interpretation may have somewhat lost credibility – at very least by the time he chants “Ohm Shanti” over his sleeping victim. “Excuse me, could we have a cup of tea? It does make me feel so serene…”

The amusements of this new role aside, the sobering truth that runs through the play is that the new order, which grants the Devil this leisure, is made possible by humans – to the point where even the Devil laments “everyone is doing my work!” What follows makes for uncomfortable viewing. Worryingly, nothing is listed that the audience wouldn’t already know about. But the comfort of pilates and chocolate covered cherries most definitely help distract your average festival-goer from some gruelling truths about current life on Earth.

The young human subject of this moral delirium is played by superb violinist Colin Pip Dixon – the play’s composer. How have I made it to paragraph four without mentioning the music? It moved effortlessly from nostalgic to edgy, echoing moods, and effective in its sparseness, performed on violin by the troubled human and viola by the Devil’s shadow. This non-speaking part (by Arnaud Ghillebaert in tailcoat and bow tie) stole the show, very much in the spirit in which a Pizzaria houseband amends a dinner date – with intention, precision and a very spare silk handkerchief.

My burning question got solved at the very end of the play: Does the Devil too play strings? See for yourself.

Sarah Martin.

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